Carlos Santana Calls On Bush To End His Evil Ways
Carlos Santana Calls On Bush To Change Is Evil Ways
by Richard S. Ehrlich
BANGKOK, Thailand -- After denouncing the U.S.-led war in Iraq, rock legend Carlos Santana told more than 10,000 cheering fans at a sensational concert on Monday (Nov. 3) that President George W. Bush must change his "evil ways".
"He is supposed to be America's president, but he's not my president, I didn't vote for him," Mr. Santana said at a news conference on Sunday (Nov. 2) shortly after arriving in the Thai capital during his brief "Shaman Tour 2003" in Asia.
When asked for his opinion about the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Mr. Santana replied: "The only thing I know is all wars are wrong.
"There is no such thing as 'holy war' because this is a contradiction. I believe that if we declare war against anything, it should be war against poverty and ignorance," the moustached musician said.
"This whole planet, everyone, should have free electricity, water and education."
During his packed, boisterous concert in an indoor stadium on Monday night, Mr. Santana suddenly quieted his searing electric guitar and told enthralled listeners, "We represent a different side of the United States.
"We do not feel oneness with Bush at all. We say, God bless humanity first."
The more than 10,000 Thai and foreign fans erupted in wild applause and later cheered their endorsement again when Mr. Santana introduced one of his most famous songs by saying, "To Bush...you've got to change your evil ways".
The fiery guitarist then unleashed a blistering version of the song titled, "Evil Ways."
Mr. Santana's visit comes in the aftermath of President Bush's Oct. 18-21 trip to Bangkok where he influenced an Asia-Pacific economic forum to worry about terrorism's impact on the region's financial profits.
Mr. Santana's criticism of Mr. Bush's leadership coincided with the downing of a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter in Iraq on Sunday which killed at least 16 U.S. servicemen and injured 20 others.
Thailand, a majority Buddhist country, dispatched more than 420 troops to Iraq in September.
Alarmed at the spiraling bloodshed, however, Thai opposition politicians and others have already suggested the government consider bringing them home.
Unlike the female country singers The Dixie Chicks -- who blasted President Bush while on an overseas tour but later expressed regret because some fans complained -- Mr. Santana has consistently been anti-war, dating back to his vocal opposition of the U.S.-Vietnam War during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
"As always, our message is 'God bless humanity,' we never say, 'God bless America'," Mr. Santana explained while describing his show in a Bangkok Post interview published on Oct. 24.
"So my band is different from some American performers like Bruce Springsteen and The Beach Boys who wrap themselves in America's flag. I don't want to have a flag.
"I'd rather be like water, clear for all people, than being a nation. I understand that some people need the dimension of patriotism, but that doesn't do anything for me," he told the paper.
"We're not here to push any American agenda, because we don't even see eye-to-eye with America ourselves anyway."
Reminded that President Bush recently visited Bangkok for the economic summit, Mr. Santana, 56, responded: "His agenda is different from ours. His agenda is basically about benefits of rich, greedy, ignorant people."
He added, "To me, George W. Bush doesn't have any power anyway. He's just someone who reads a cue that somebody writes for him -- somebody who's even richer than him.
"Our agenda is different. He sells fear. We push joy."
Richard S. Ehrlich, a freelance journalist who has reported news from Asia for the past 25 years, is co-author of the non-fiction book, "HELLO MY BIG BIG HONEY!" -- Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews. His web page is http://www.geocities.com/glossograph/